Lobbyists, Wonks and Tories Mingling at the Russian Embassy Conservative Friends of Russia Launch Party

Last night Guido infiltrated the Russian Embassy for the Conservative Friends of Russia launch party. The vodka was flowing as lobbyists, businessmen, wonks and Conservative MPs mingled with Russian diplomats and pals of Putin. Guido gathers that the decision to set up Conservative Friends of Russia was not taken lightly, with the Tory hierarchy expressing concerns that the group was being established the week after the Pussy Riot girls were imprisoned. Perhaps that was why the advertised keynote speaker Malcolm Rifkind didn’t show…

Replacing Rifkind was John Whittingdale, who awkwardly noted that “sometimes our country will not agree with your country, and sometimes your country will not agree with ours“. With the pleasantries dealt with the Russian Standard booze was wheeled out and tongues were loosened. One champagne-swilling Russian reader told Guido that he would be locked up if he ever decided to relocate the blog to the motherland…

UPDATE: CFoR have got in touch claiming that Rifkind is in Scotland and was never due to speak at the event. Despite being their Honorary President

UPDATE II:  Guido has independently confirmed that Rifkind was in Edinburgh yesterday and was never intended to be there.




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Quote of the Day

Jo Swinson on Chris Rennard…

“Vince — and Tim before him — have repeatedly, publicly said Rennard is not welcome anywhere near their frontbench team, even as an adviser. I remain deeply frustrated that he was not expelled from the party through its disciplinary process. It just feels wrong, and I do not want Lord Rennard to continue as a member of the party. As far as I am concerned, he is not welcome.”

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